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Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast CD (album) cover

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.77 | 451 ratings

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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Revelations Ch. XIII V. 18

The Number of the Beast marked a significant change for Iron Maiden. First of all, you have the entrance of Bruce Dickinson, "Air Raid Siren", on vocals, and second you have an international success and one of the most iconic and influential albums in heavy metal. Yes, you could call The Number of the Beast one of the most groundbreaking albums in metal, but it is certainly not without reason. This album is fantastic and marks the first in a long string of Dickinson classics. Many people would call The Number of the Beast the best Iron Maiden album, and even though I don't entirely agree with this, it would be pure blasphemy to call it anything less than quintessential and just simply awesome.

This album has a slightly different sound than the first two Iron Maiden full-lengths, mostly due to Bruce Dickinson's vocal prowess. Gone are the punk-laden vocals of Paul Di'Anno, replaced by the masterful heavy metal vocals of Bruce Dickinson. As you can imagine, the very different style of the two vocalists greatly impacted Iron Maiden's sound. The punk-ish sound of the first two albums is gone almost entirely, and in replacement is a more traditional heavy metal sound. The Number of the Beast also introduces the galloping basslines and high falsetto vocals that Iron Maiden is known for. However, the band had yet to fully unleash their prog side by the time of this album. The prog influences are still scarce on this album, but within the next two albums that would change drastically. The only proggy song on this release is the mini-epic Hallowed Be Thy Name. Otherwise, this album is heavy metal with little variation outside of that genre.

The Number of the Beast is an 8-track, 40:20 album. Although another 5 to 10 minutes would've been nice, this is a generally good length for a heavy metal album. There is very little filler here, and the only song short of excellent is Gangland. The other songs are all masterpieces of heavy metal. Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, 22 Acacia Avenue, and Hallowed Be Thy Name are my personal favorites, but songs like The Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills are unquestionable classics. Needless to say this album is all killer and (almost) no filler. Some of Iron Maiden's best material can be found here.

As with all Iron Maiden albums, the musicianship is some of the best out there. Every single bandmate is extremely talented, and they always play exceptionally well together. As mentioned, this is the first album with Bruce Dickinson behind the microphone, and what a debut with Iron Maiden this was! The man is just a fantastic singer, among the best in all of heavy metal. Steve Harris' bass playing is also another highlight here. Iron Maiden is one of the few metal bands who really emphasizes on their bass player, giving Harris more than enough room to shine through with his talent.

The production on The Number of the Beast is perfect. This is among the best heavy metal productions ever. It's powerful, clean, and the bass is high in the mix (something I usually really like). It doesn't come as much of a surprise, though, considering how great Iron Maiden's production qualities usually are. Martin Birch is simply one of the best producers during this time period.

Conclusion:

The Number of the Beast is one of the most influential albums in heavy metal, and after hearing it many times, it's not hard to understand why. Calling this album incredible is nothing short of the truth. Consider how many metal musicians, now legends in their own right, cite The Number of the Beast as a major musical influence. How many albums do you know that can fit a label like that? I'm going to give The Number of the Beast a 4 star rating. I would've gone higher, but decided not to because Iron Maiden made even better albums in their future. Still, this album is a must-have for all metalheads.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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